Indian News

‘Less than 0.5% international arrivals being tested for Covid at IGIA found positive in first 2 days’ | India News

NEW DELHI: Less than half per cent (0.5%) of the 345 international arrivals tested at Delhi Airport till Sunday evening tested positive for Covid. The low percentage of positive cases so far has brought relief to authorities here, as IGIA had seen a peak of 5-6% last summer at the height of Delta wave, say officials of Genestrings Diagnostic Centre’s lab which has been conducting tests at Delhi Airport during the pandemic. Everyone is keeping their fingers firmly crossed.
Testing started at 10 am on Saturday (December 24), with Day One seeing 110 tests being conducted at IGIA. And Day Two — Sunday (Dec 25) — saw 345 tests from 12 am to 7 pm here. “So far the positivity rate has luckily been low at 0.5%. This is a very positive (not +ve result-wise) thing and we hope it stays that way. The peak positivity was seen in the summer of 2021 at 5-6%,” said a Genestrings official.
On an average IGI Airport sees about 25,000 international arrivals daily and the 2% random testing means about 500 will be tested daily. “The timely decision by the Union health and aviation ministries to start random testing is a much needed prevention measure that will curb the spread of infection in the country. We have increased manpower of lab technicians at the facility to ensure availability and timely reporting along with being fully prepared for Covid management,” said Dr Gauri Agarwal, Genestrings Diagnostic Centre founder.
Passengers will not be charged for this test, say airport operators. The Union aviation ministry said on Friday: “Airport operators shall conduct random test sampling through the NABL/ICMR empanelled laboratories at subsidised and uniform rates as applicable for all international airports. The cost of testing shall be reimbursed by the Union health ministry on submission of duly certified bills…”
The government decided to resume RT-PCR tests in wake of spurt in cases in some countries like China, Japan and US. Airlines will identify the 2% arriving international passengers on a random basis “preferably from different countries.” Such travellers will submit the samples and then leave the airport after giving their contact details and address to the airport health officers.
Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has made all necessary arrangements for testing, similar to the ones seen during previous waves of the pandemic when testing on arrival (or pre-departure for some countries) was mandatory. “Genestrings was the first lab in India during the pandemic to establish a RT-PCR testing lab at any international airport delivering results in four hours, when even developed nations were taking 24-48 hours for results. Genestrings then went on to become one of the largest Covid-19 testing facilities conducting over 20,000 tests per day. The lab at Delhi airport was also appointed by the Canadian government as the sole Covid-19 testing facility in India for Canada-bound passengers. Genestrings conducted over 2.5 million Covid tests in the past two years,” the statement said.